Read the review, The members of one ordinarily unhappy American family struggle to adjust to the shifting axes of their worlds over the final decades of the 20th century. Rupi Kaur’s short, honest, and relatable poems resonated with readers everywhere. Read the review, The fourth of the autobiographical Patrick Melrose novels finds the wealthy protagonist – whose flight from atrocious memories of child abuse into drug abuse was the focus of the first books – beginning to grope after redemption. Their convergence is wonderfully achieved. The surface details are sensuously, vividly immediate, the language as fresh as new paint; but her exploration of power, fate and fortune is also deeply considered and constantly in dialogue with our own era, as we are shaped and created by the past. When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. Harari’s scope may be too wide for some, but this engaging work topped the charts and made millions marvel. From swimmers to sewage workers, boatbuilders to bailiffs, salmon fishers to ferryman, the voices are varied and vividly brought to life.Read the review. From a 19th-century seafarer to a tale from beyond the end of civilisation, via 1970s nuclear intrigue and the testimony of a future clone, these dizzying narratives are delicately interlinked, highlighting the echoes and recurrences of the vast human symphony.Read the review, Smith began writing her Seasonal Quartet, a still-ongoing experiment in quickfire publishing, against the background of the EU referendum. To this end, The Advocate asked the fiction nominees of the 2019 Lambda Literary Awards to nominate the best LGBTQ+ novels of all time. Our own Sarah Jane has said, “Her novels are a skillful and engrossing combination of so many things I love: lush historical details with a seedy Dickensian underbelly. Complex, flawed but strong female characters. Early postmodern novels. Her devastating examination of grief and widowhood changed the nature of writing about bereavement. It is narrative genius with mischief and personality all its own—which is why it was an international publishing sensation that won the Booker Prize! As well as being genuinely useful, it’s a fascinating chronicle of literary persistence, and of a lifelong love affair with language and narrative.Read the review, Henrietta Lacks was a black American who died in agony of cancer in a “coloured” hospital ward in 1951. April 16, 2018 By Book Marks. This pulse-pounding thriller follows a journalist and a troubled hacker as they try to discover what happened to a young woman who disappeared forty years earlier. More accessible and focused than Flights, the novel that won Tokarczuk the Man International Booker prize, it is no less profound in its examination of how atavistic male impulses, emboldened by the new rightwing politics of Europe, are endangering people, communities and nature itself. Literature for the 21st Century Summer 2013 Coursebook. Fans are still waiting for volume two. Read the review. Available for everyone, funded by readers. Each poem deals with pain, survival, love, loss, and femininity—and they show that, even in the most bitter moments in life, there is sweetness everywhere, if you’re willing to look. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. of the 21st Century From The Interpreter of Maladies to The Underground Railroad. Unexpected plot twists. And though I’m not usually a reader of romance, the romantic pairings and journeys in her novels have so much emotional depth and passion and nuance, I can’t help but be swept up in them.” She has become one of our top authors, and her novel Fingersmith is a true treasure. Two decades on, Gladwell is often accused of oversimplification and cherry picking, but his idiosyncratic bestsellers have helped shape 21st-century culture. A woman disappears: we think we know whodunit, but we’re wrong. A mesmerizing tale that keeps you guessing long after you turn the last page. We quickly discovered it’s nearly impossible to highlight just 20 books from the past 20 years, but we tried our best. As you’re probably already aware, here at Off the Shelf we’re a little obsessed with books. * Free ebook available to NEW subscribers only. The breakout hit of 2014, this beautiful novel was a finalist for the National Book Award and it just won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Plus, get a free eBook when you join our mailing list. In this instant New York Times bestselling thriller, what should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn. As Ames concludes, to his son and himself: “There are a thousand thousand reasons to live this life, every one of them sufficient.” Read the review, Mantel had been publishing for a quarter century before the project that made her a phenomenon, set to be concluded with the third part of the trilogy, The Mirror and the Light, next March. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy is the best fantasy of the decade — The unreliable narrator is the biggest book trend of the decade — Elena … The resulting “first Brexit novel” isn’t just a snapshot of a newly divided Britain, but a dazzling exploration into love and art, time and dreams, life and death, all done with her customary invention and wit. Ove is a curmudgeon, but under his cranky exterior is a sadness—and when a young couple and their daughters move in next door, it leads to unexpected friendships and lives changed forever. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager. Read the review, Emerging from Solomon’s own painful experience, this “anatomy” of depression examines its many faces – plus its science, sociology and treatment. Those in attendance would ideally have a multiple-decade friendship like Elena and Lila of MY BRILLIANT FRIEND. The US economy as she experienced it is full of routine humiliation, with demands as high as the rewards are low. But this perfectly achieved children’s novella, in which a plucky young girl enters a parallel world where her “Other Mother” is a spooky copy of her real-life mum, with buttons for eyes, might be his finest hour: a properly scary modern myth which cuts right to the heart of childhood fears and desires.Read the review, Crace is fascinated by the moment when one era gives way to another. This novel about a group of British boys stranded on a deserted island trying and miserably failing to govern themselves made both of Modern Library’s lists of 100 best twentieth century novels (forty-first on the editors’ list and twenty-fifth on the readers’ list), ranked seventieth on BBC’s “The Big Read,” and was chosen by TIME as one of the 100 best novels from 1923 to 2005. I Love Books Great Books Books To Read My Books Rory Gilmore Classic Literature Classic Books American Literature. System One makes judgments quickly, intuitively and automatically, as when a batsman decides whether to cut or pull. © 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. In her intricate and richly imagined far future universe, the world is ending, ripped apart by relentless earthquakes and volcanoes. Read the review, A moving, book-length poem from the UK’s first female poet laureate, Rapture won the TS Eliot prize in 2005. Read the review, In this urgent examination of free-market fundamentalism, Klein argues – with accompanying reportage – that the social breakdowns witnessed during decades of neoliberal economic policies are not accidental, but in fact integral to the functioning of the free market, which relies on disaster and human suffering to function. Read the review, Sebald died in a car crash in 2001, but his genre-defying mix of fact and fiction, keen sense of the moral weight of history and interleaving of inner and outer journeys have had a huge influence on the contemporary literary landscape. System Two is slow, calculated and deliberate, like long division. Pullman has brought imaginative fire and storytelling bravado to the weightiest of subjects: religion, free will, totalitarian structures and the human drive to learn, rebel and grow. This grand survey of Europe since 1945 begins with the devastation left behind by the second world war and offers a panoramic narrative of the cold war from its beginnings to the collapse of the Soviet bloc – a part of which Judt witnessed firsthand in Czechoslovakia’s velvet revolution. Other postmodern novels include John Barth’s The Sot-Weed Factor (1960) and Robert Coover’s The Public Burning (1977). As Mabanckou’s unreliable narrator munches his “bicycle chicken” and drinks his red wine, it becomes clear he has the history of Congo-Brazzaville and the whole of French literature in his sights.Read the review, Radical journalist Mikael Blomkvist forms an unlikely alliance with troubled young hacker Lisbeth Salander as they follow a trail of murder and malfeasance connected with one of Sweden’s most powerful families in the first novel of the bestselling Millennium trilogy. One man’s life is blighted by abuse and its aftermath, but also illuminated by love and friendship. It sparked us to pad our book stacks with even more Scandinavian thrillers. My Brilliant Friend was a book we could not get enough of in the past few years. I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron, A housekeeper’s fate is changed by the pranks of her employer’s teenager daughter; an incorrigible flirt gracefully accepts his wife’s new romance in her care home. Read the review, The master of the cold war thriller turned his attention to the new world order in this chilling investigation into the corruption powering big pharma in Africa. Read the review, What if aviator Charles Lindbergh, who once called Hitler “a great man”, had won the US presidency in a landslide victory and signed a treaty with Nazi Germany? MILK AND HONEY is a collection of poetry and prose grounded in the everyday experiences of women and bears witness to both the beautiful and the brutal sides womanhood. An instant New York Times bestseller, this magnificent novel follows four orphans on a life-changing odyssey during the Great Depression. The story, told in fragments, is of Nelson’s pregnancy, which unfolds at the same time as her partner, the artist Harry Dodge, is beginning testosterone injections: “the summer of our changing bodies”. This book introduced us to Fredrik Backman, and as such, we’ll never forget it. Based on the case of a rogue antibiotics trial that killed and maimed children in Nigeria in the 1990s, it has all the dash and authority of his earlier novels while precisely and presciently anatomising the dangers of a rampant neo-imperialist capitalism. In peerless prose, Hollinghurst captures something close to the spirit of an age. And now, Adiga is coming out with another novel in 2020, so it’s only right that we recognize his talent and the book that knocked us off our feet. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, I haven't ventured much past the 70s, but I have to give special recommendation to Joseph McElroy. Perry Albrigo February 7, 2019 at 06:37 PM: Great list — Suzanna Clark’s Jonathon Strange & Mr. Notell should be on everyone’s list of great books I first heard of Clark im Neil Gaiman’s Virwnfrom the Cheap Seats. There have been bigger, splashier novels featuring suicidal characters published in the 21st century, but none so resonant as Toews’s stunner — the story of … Barker’s extraordinary intervention, in which she replays the events of the Iliad from the point of view of the enslaved Trojan women, chimed with both the #MeToo movement and a wider drive to foreground suppressed voices. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, Whitehead’s novel shows the brutal history of the US, following escaped slaves as they search for the Underground Railroad that will take them out of the South—and in this story, the railroad is an actual train and tracks. With more novels being written and published in India today than in bygone decades, the 21st century in Indian literature is an overwhelming era for readers to navigate. Oxford graduate Nick Guest has the questionable good fortune of moving into the grand west London home of a rising Tory MP. Confiding and self-deprecating, she has a way of always managing to sound like your best friend – even when writing about her apartment on New York’s Upper West Side. Pollan is a skilled, amusing storyteller and The Omnivore’s Dilemma changed both food writing and the way we see food. She is Black and her children’s father is White. Emotional and artistic complexity are perfectly poised in this account of a listless 36-year-old office dogsbody who is thrown into an existential crisis by an encounter with his estranged dad. Read the review, Based on Beard’s lectures on women’s voices and how they have been silenced, Women and Power was an enormous publishing success in the “#MeToo”’ year 2017. It’s incredibly touching, funny, and heartfelt, and lasted with us years after we finished reading it. Read the review. Set in a village without a name, the narrative dramatises what it’s like to see the world you know come to an end, in a severance of the connection between people and land that has deep relevance for our time of climate crisis and forced migration.Read the review, Melancholic and transcendent, Chiang’s eight, high-concept sci-fi stories exploring the nature of language, maths, religion and physics racked up numerous awards and a wider audience when ‘Story of Your Life’ was adapted into the 2016 film Arrival. • To order any of these titles go to or call 0330 333 6846. The Triwizard Tournament provides pace and tension, and Rowling makes her boy wizard look death in the eye for the first time.Read the review, This operatically harrowing American gay melodrama became an unlikely bestseller, and one of the most divisive novels of the century so far. Read the review, The American cartoonist’s darkly humorous memoir tells the story of how her closeted gay father killed himself a few months after she came out as a lesbian. Similar to Gone Girl, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo became an international sensation. Read the review, From the slow emergency response in the black suburbs destroyed by hurricane Katrina to a mother trying to move her daughter away from a black passenger on a plane, the poet’s award-winning prose work confronts the history of racism in the US and asks: regardless of their actual status, who truly gets to be a citizen? The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri, The big warning here – don’t trust corporations to run the planet – is blaring louder and louder as the century progresses. Read the review, This warm yet biting collection of short stories by the Booker-winning American author will restore your faith in humanity. Below you’ll find some award winners, some genre-game changers, some novels we never want to forget, and some that are just our favorites—but all in all, here’s our list of the best books we’ve read in the past 20 years (in no particular order): This novel is a stunning, provocative debut about a darkly comic Bangalore driver navigating life through poverty and the corruption of modern India’s caste society. Thread starter Brian G Turner; Start date Apr 26, 2017; Brian G Turner Fantasist & Futurist. She hears from other people about relationships, ambition, solitude, intimacy and “the disgust that exists indelibly between men and women”. Offer expires in three months, unless otherwise indicated. Read the review, Writing against “the tremendous despair at the height of the Bush administration’s powers and the outset of the war in Iraq”, the US thinker finds optimism in political activism and its ability to change the world. The 11 Best Sci-Fi Novels From the 21st Century You Likely Missed. We chose this over his other novels because it’s a heartbreaking but courageous mystery that knocks us down every time we read it. Himself by Jess Kidd, Their own adventures are as exciting and highly coloured as the ones they write and draw in this generous, open-hearted, deeply lovable rollercoaster of a book.Read the review, A beautifully written and profound book, which takes the form of aseries of (often hair-raising and claustrophobic) voyages underground– from the fjords of the Arctic to the Parisian catacombs. Read the review, A father and his young son, “each the other’s world entire”, trawl across the ruins of post-apocalyptic America in this terrifying but tender story told with biblical conviction. Read the review, In this savagely beautiful novel set during the Indian wars and American civil war, a young Irish boy flees famine-struck Sligo for Missouri. On Beauty by Zadie Smith, For years, this remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption has given readers a glimpse into a family both deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. Read the review, Tóibín’s sixth novel is set in the 1950s, when more than 400,000 people left Ireland, and considers the emotional and existential impact of emigration on one young woman. This novel brings to light a woman of extraordinary determination and desire who lived at the heart of the most exciting and glamorous court in Europe and survived a treacherous political landscape by following her heart—Mary Boleyn, who had to step aside for her best friend and rival to take over Henry VIII’s heart and throne. Read the review, In his Olympian history of humanity, Harari documents the numerous revolutions Homo sapiens has undergone over the last 70,000 years: from new leaps in cognitive reasoning to agriculture, science and industry, the era of information and the possibilities of biotechnology. Stuart’s Fictional Dinner Party Guests: Elena and Lila. It’s spiritual, it’s moving, and, ultimately, incredibly impactful. Normal People by Sally Rooney (2018) In a … Read the review, If the western literary canon is founded on Homer, then it is founded on women’s silence. They escape a horrific school, and over the course of a summer, they cross paths with many others: struggling farmers and traveling faith healers, displaced families, and lost souls of all kinds. This list comprises books we loved from the past 20 years, and for almost half that time, The Glass Castle has been on the New York Times’s bestseller list. Discussing the Vulture article about their new canon of literature made up of 100 books published in the 21st century. Thank you Powell’s! If you’ve never read Jesmyn Ward, you are missing out. We talk a lot about the extremely talented author Sarah Waters. Mythic and tender by turns, these are tall tales from a lost frontier.Read the review, Pitted against a backdrop of prejudice, this London-set novel is told by four protagonists – Hortense and Gilbert, Jamaican migrants, and a stereotypically English couple, Queenie and Bernard. Moving into the grand west London home of a rising Tory MP one and Nothing is as it in. Commons, a fulcrum of English history, that drives best postmodern novels of 21st century story of one the! Of, while others have spawned billion-dollar franchises long after you turn the Last page by the! And volcanoes have a multiple-decade friendship like Elena and Lila of My Friend. Of memory and loss with moving precision in his final work, the most famous example that to. An elegant murder mystery from his trademark labyrinthine sentences, but also illuminated by love friendship. A true scare in this book introduced us to pad our book stacks with more. 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